The Year the Law Changed
Waiting hours, each of us in a curtain-stall.
Two men outside, mopping the floor and hall,
Shouting “Murderers!” at us. Were they janitors?
Or medics who’d read our charts & diagnosed?
If men could get pregnant, it would end up
a sacrament, Gloria said. Simone said We
know that no woman takes it lightly. So
could both be true. In class in San Francisco
our teacher spoke of his wife who lost
a child to leukemia, haunted by her ghost
& told by her shrink to write about blood.
She wrote about a vampire and her book shot
to fame so maybe she forgot the one who
never grew into her name. When my name
was called I went to have it done and then knew
I had my life back but covered myself with blood —
mine and some not — but still of me. I don’t know
what I mean by “of me,” it’s undefined & even
the shouting accusers won’t cross that line. I had to
swear I was clinically mad to have it done. What’s
madness to the men in white: they clean the world
of residue like me and all the blood from both of us.